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Mindful : October 2014
2014 Mindful Calendar of Events Upcoming conferences, festivals, and symposia of interest OCTOBER 30–NOVEMBER 2 International Symposium on Contemplative Studies (ISCS), Hosted by Mind & Life Institute • Boston, Massachusetts. Attendees will include the Dalai Lama, Richie Davidson, Arianna Huffington, Amishi Jha, Jon Kabat-Zinn, David Germano, Judson Brewer, and Sharon Salzberg. ics2014.org NOVEMBER 7–9 Care, Compassion, and Mindfulness (conference), Hosted by Ahimsa Center: Nonviolence in Thought and Action, California State Polytechnic University • Pomona, California. csupomona.edu NOVEMBER 10–16 Compassion Week 2014, Hosted by the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), Stanford School of Medicine • Palo Alto, California. Includes Science of Compassion (Nov 10–11), Compassion & Healthcare Conference (Nov 12), Empathy and Compassion in Society Conference (Nov 13–14), Charter for Compassion Day (Nov 15), and Living Compassion- ately Retreat (Nov 15–16). ccare.stanford.edu/ccare NOVEMBER 14–16 Mindful Leadership Summit, Washington, D.C., Hosted at Artisphere • Arlington, Virginia. Youth, University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness • San Diego, California. Featuring: Sharon Salzberg, Dan Gole- man, Tim Ryan, Janice Marturano, Tara Brach, Dan Harris, Michael Carroll mindfulleaders.org Mood and Mode: Does How We Travel Affect How We Feel? Not all modes of transit are created equal. Researchers studying how travel makes us feel found that travel alone has only a small impact on mood, but found wide variations based on our method of travel—whether by bike, plane, train, or automobile. Bicycle is reportedly the hap- piest mode of transport. Researchers posit that it’s because it’s the least passive—as we exercise our bodies release feel-good endorphins—and we focus our attention more on the outside world. The Benefits of Gratitude Here’s new evidence that gratitude can lead to greater happiness: Researchers took people on a wait list for psychologi- cal therapy and separated them into three groups: One kept a gratitude journal, another a kindness journal, and a control group just kept a journal of their moods. After two weeks those who kept the grati- tude journal were on their way to being more grateful people. However, those who counted their kindnesses didn’t come out kinder because of it. That said, both the kindness and gratitude groups still enjoyed a higher percent of happy days over the mood-monitoring control group—all before they walked into a therapist’s office. Purpose in Life as a Predictor of Mortality There’s evidence to show living a purpose- ful life can mean a longer life. A national longitudinal study including more than 7,000 par ticipants examined health and well-being from youth to midlife. They found that those who expressed a strong sense of intent in life lived longer and in better health, even when considering other factors like maintaining positive relations with others. For individual study citations, please visit mindful.org/ researchroundup To click through to details of these events and others, go to mindful.org/events Research compiled by the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massa- chusetts Medical School, and compiled and written by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. The Effects of Mindfulness Skills on Chocolate Cravings If you’re a chocoholic, take a tip from this study: Researchers put mindfulness skills to the test to determine how to best help people cope with cravings for chocolate. At the end of the two weeks, people who had learned to perceive their thoughts about craving as separate from them- selves thought of themselves less often as a person with a weakness for chocolate. When they were asked to handle a piece of chocolate for a minute without eating it, they also had a smaller increase in craving for it as compared to a control group. Neural Signatures of Affiliative Emotion The ability to voluntarily increase brain activity associated with affection and tenderness toward others might sound like science fiction, but researchers have seen evidence of it. They used an fMRI to look at the brain activity of adult par ticipants while they recalled a memor y of strong affection toward a loved one. Half of the par ticipants were given visual feedback of their brain activity in real time—a process called neurofeedback. The feedback demonstrated how their brain activity changed with positive emotions. A control group of par ticipants saw a display not representative of their brain activity. After four successive sessions, people who were given visual neurofeedback had increased their brain activity signaling affectionate emotion as compared to the control group. Future studies could explore whether neurofeedback training could eventually translate to enhanced feelings of affection toward others and, in turn, promote pro- social behavior. ● 12 mindful October 2014 now Research Roundup